Are Bali’s Badly Behaved Tourists On The Rise Again?

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As the high season gets underway in Bali, the island is preparing for a huge influx of tourists.

This weekend, a series of incidents took place across the island in which foreigners behaved in a less-than-culturally respectful and law-abiding way. 

Back of Bali Police Officer UniformBack of Bali Police Officer Uniform

Leaders across Bali want to enforce existing laws and cultural rules more strictly as the number of foreigners behaving badly appears to be on the rise again.

It could also be the case that the number of reports of foreigners behaving badly is on the rise, as local community members and the authorities get increasingly frustrated with visitors to the island disturbing the peace. 

Wonderful Indonesia, the national tourism board, recently issued updated guidance on how to travel respectfully in Bali, and while the vast majority of the over 4 million tourists who have visited Bali so far this year have been respectful and honoured the laws and customs of the land, a small but significant minority have been hitting headlines for all kinds of bad behaviour. 

On Saturday, 8th June, a foreign tourist who was visiting Kelingking Beach in Nusa Penida got into an altercation with a tourism driver who had asked him to stand in the queue to take photos at the famous viewpoint. 

In a press statement issued after the incident the Nusa Penida Police Chief, Police Commissioner Ida Bagus Putra Sumerta, said the dispute kicked off when foreign tourists were reprimanded for not joining the queue to take photos. The foreign tourist in question resisted and uttered “dirty words,” which caused something of a commotion.

Police Commissioner Sumerta said that the incident took place at around 6 pm. A video of the brawl has now gone viral on social media.

Sumerta told reporters, “The commotion occurred because tourists did not want to follow the rules when carrying out photo activities and provoked the driver’s emotions by saying inappropriate words, resulting in a commotion.” 

PC Sumerta said that the tourist did not want to follow the rules and swore at the tour guide driver. It is said that the tourist then grabbed the collar of the driver and swore at him once again.

They started pushing each other until a fight broke out, with by-standers getting involved to try and break up the commotion, too.

The driver is said to have his glasses broken in the altercation. Although he issued a statement to the press, PC Sumerta said that no formal case had been lodged at Nusa Penida Police HQ. 

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Also, on Saturday, 9th June, a South African citizen believed to be on vacation in Bali was apprehended by local authorities for disturbing the peace in the Batu Bolong area of Canggu.

The tourist, known by their first initial only, M, has been taken into a mental health facility for assessment; pending the result, M will be handed over to immigration officials for potential deportation. 

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In truly shocking scenes at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport and the Bali Mandara Toll Road on Sunday, 9th June, a foreign man stole a truck and drove on a rampage through the streets to the airport. It is believed that the man in question was either intoxicated or having a mental health crisis.

The General Manager of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, Handy Heryudhitiawan, confirmed to reporters, “We can convey that there was an incident where a foreigner broke into I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, Sunday (9/6) at 22.00 WITA using a truck and hit the tollgate barrier and other facilities.”

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He added, “The information is that the foreigner comes from England, but you can check the truth with the Police or North Kuta Police. We experienced some damage to facilities, but this did not disrupt the operations of I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport, which can continue to run normally.”

It is believed that the tourist got into the truck somewhere around Kerobokan, and ‘beat’ the truck driver who had pulled over for a nap. An investigation is underway. 


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